5 Design Tips For Modernising An Old-Build Home

old home

Transforming an old-build home into a modern oasis can be an exciting challenge.

It is estimated that up to two percent of buildings in the UK are listed, that’s nearly half a million buildings and structures.

While respecting the original character and history of the house is important, there are ways to infuse new design elements that rejuvenate its overall look.

Whether it’s for designing hotels, homes or restaurants, here are five design tips to help you achieve that perfect blend of old charm and modern elegance.

1. Embrace Minimalism

A Clean Slate: Modern design often revolves around minimalism. To start, declutter spaces and opt for a more open, airy feel. This doesn’t mean stripping the house of its character but rather choosing elements that complement its original features. Consider built-in storage solutions that hide away the clutter while keeping the room’s aesthetic clean and streamlined.

Simplicity in Decor: When it comes to decor, less is more. Choose a few statement pieces rather than overcrowding rooms with knick-knacks. A large, modern art piece or a sleek, contemporary sofa can make a bold statement without overwhelming the space, especially in large, old build rooms.

2. Update the Colour Palette

Fresh Coat, Fresh Outlook: A new colour scheme can dramatically alter the vibe of your home. For a modern touch, consider neutral or monochromatic shades. These colours not only make spaces appear larger and brighter but also serve as a canvas for highlighting the home’s original features. Accents in bold colours or textures can add depth and interest.

Harmonising Old and New: When selecting colours, be mindful of the house’s original elements. A harmonious blend of old and new can be achieved by choosing hues that complement, rather than clash with, the home’s inherent character.

3. Mix Materials and Textures

A Fusion of Eras: Integrating different materials and textures is key to modernising while preserving uniqueness. Pairing traditional materials like wood with industrial elements like metal or glass can create an intriguing juxtaposition.

Tactile Contrast: Use fabrics and upholstery to add warmth and comfort. Mixing smooth, sleek finishes with plush, cosy textiles can create a layered, lived-in feel that still feels fresh and contemporary.

4. Incorporate Modern Lighting

Lighting as a Statement Piece: Modern lighting fixtures can be transformative. They not only serve a functional purpose but can also act as artwork. Consider replacing outdated fixtures with contemporary designs. Minimalist chandeliers or geometric light fittings can offer a striking contrast to traditional architecture.

Layered Lighting: Implement a layered lighting approach—ambient, task, and accent. This allows for flexibility in creating different moods and highlighting architectural details while ensuring functionality in every room.

Just be aware, if you’re changing any wiring, you might want to make sure that you have the right listed property insurance, to ensure any mistakes don’t land you with a big bill!

5. Focus on Flooring

Foundation for Change: Flooring can set the tone for your home’s new look. If the budget allows, consider replacing old carpets with hardwood floors for a timeless yet modern appeal. If the original flooring is in good condition, refinishing can bring out its beauty while aligning with a modern aesthetic.

Rugs for Cohesion: Rugs are an excellent way to add texture and colour. They can help delineate spaces in open floor plans and add a layer of warmth and modernity to any room.

Protect Your Investment

Securing Your Modernised Home: Once you’ve invested time and resources into modernising your old-build home, it’s crucial to protect your investment. This is especially important if you’re planning to use your home for hospitality purposes.

Obtaining the right hospitality insurance can safeguard you against potential liabilities and damages, ensuring that your beautifully updated home remains a source of pride and joy for years to come.


Modernising an old-build home requires a delicate balance between preserving its historical essence and introducing contemporary design elements.

By embracing minimalism, updating the colour palette, mixing materials and textures, incorporating modern lighting, and focusing on flooring, you can breathe new life into your home.

Each step should be a thoughtful nod to the past while boldly stepping into the present, creating a space that’s truly timeless.